Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/15/2015
Access to capital for the purchase of farmland, resources, and equipment is necessary to the success and critical to the future of farm business. I met with representatives from equipment leasing and financial service institutions this week to discuss the unique challenges and upcoming legislation impacting farm lenders. The National Association of Realtors also visited my office to detail their efforts to help homebuyers find affordable housing across the country. Finally, the Agriculture Committee met to consider legislation to reauthorize the CFTC.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
AgQuest Financial Services
On Thursday, I met with representatives from AgQuest Financial Services, an agriculture lender based in Morgan. They were accompanied by leadership from a few other relatively small ag finance companies from around the country. We discussed the unique challenges they all face as “other financing institutions” under the Farm Credit Act. Providing farmers with access to affordable and flexible financing is very important, and AgQuest does just that.
Equipment Leasing and Finance
This week, I met with Dave Verkinderen of U.S. Bank Equipment Finance in Marshall, Mike Romanowski of CoBank’s Farm Credit Leasing in Minneapolis and Daniel Nelson of Tamarack in Woodbury to discuss equipment leasing and finance, tax provisions and the general state of small business and farm lending. The work done by these businesses is a great asset to rural America.
Farm Credit Administration
I welcomed Kenneth Spearman, the newly appointed Chairman of the Farm Credit Administration, to my office this week. As a fellow CPA, Chairman Spearman is extremely qualified to oversee the farm lending regulator, and his farm roots in Indiana and Florida give him an understanding of the business of agriculture.
National Association of Realtors
Minnesotan members of the National Association of Realtors visited my office to discuss the state of housing in the United States. Among those present were Redwood Falls realtor Geri Theis and her husband Corey, the recently-elected mayor of Redwood Falls (pictured first and second from left). We discussed upcoming tax reform and maintaining credits to assist home buyers. Realtors help home buyers find affordable housing across the country, and we need to continue to create an atmosphere that assists the housing markets.
Brunswick Boat Group
Kevin Grodzki, Veronica McCann Floyd, and Dave Marlow
Members from the Brunswick Boat Group visited with me on Wednesday to talk about the importance of the marine industry in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota is among the top ten states in the country for boating, and the industry added nearly $5.5 billion to Minnesota’s economy in 2014 alone. Lund and Crestliner aluminum boats are produced in Brunswick’s manufacturing facility in New York Mills, where a 60,000 square foot expansion was recently completed.
National Electrical Contractors Association
David Manderson, Bob Gorg, Gary Thaden, Timothy Dulas, Roger Walz, and Ronald Bowen
On Thursday, several small electric business operators visited my office to encourage tax policies that provide certainty to the industry. Congress has a tendency to wait until a tax credit deadline looms before acting which has a negative impact on businesses trying to plan for the future. I will continue to support tax policies that promote certainty in the markets so businesses can make investments in capital and hire more workers.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
On Thursday, I met with bikers from the 7th District who came out to Washington, D.C. as part of a national advocacy day for members of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. This year's event, titled “Bikers Inside the Beltway,” promoted Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month to encourage access to proper rider education and motorist awareness.
Western Growers Association
On Wednesday, I spoke to the Western Growers Association Board of Directors. Western Growers Association represents the fresh fruit, vegetable and nut industries in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, providing half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables including a third of America’s fresh organic produce. Former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., joined me at the podium to provide an update on the Agriculture Committee’s work this Congress.
National Pork Producers Council
I met with Randy Spronk, former president of the National Pork Producers Council, on Thursday. Randy was in town for an agricultural roundtable discussion with Ambassador Darci Vetter, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) office. Randy shared his views on the Trade Promotion Authority bill and the Trans Pacific Partnership on behalf of the pork and agriculture industries.
Northland Community and Technical College
Dr. Anne Temte (President, Northland Community and Technical College)
Dr. Anne Temte is retiring as President of Northland Community and Technical College at the end of June, and I was happy to send a staff aide to her retirement reception at the East Grand Forks Campus this week. The reception featured presentations of Dr. Temte’s contributions to the institution and the unveiling of an endowment established in her name. For nine years, Anne has been a champion of higher education issues at both the Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks campuses of Northland Community and Technical College. I wish her well on her retirement.
Agri-Pulse Open Mic
I was the featured guest on this week’s Agri-Pulse Open Mic. The interview covered a wide range of issues including pending trade agreements, crop insurance and EPA regulations. The entire interview is available online.
Agriculture Committee Update
The Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a hearing Wednesday to review the federal coordination and response regarding pollinator health. This is a pretty complicated issue so I was pleased to see the Subcommittee begin to look into it. I hope that this will be the first of several hearings into pollinator health and that future hearings will give the Subcommittee the opportunity to hear testimony from all stakeholders on the ground.
The Agriculture Committee met on Thursday to consider legislation reauthorizing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). While I co-sponsored a reauthorization bill last Congress, I was unable to support the Committee’s bill because the facts on the ground, particularly at the Commission, have changed. I don’t believe we need all the extra provisions included in the legislation but rather a simple reauthorization.
In early June, folks from across the 7th will be in Washington, D.C. for the annual Minnesota Transportation Fly-In to support local projects in their communities. As we celebrate Infrastructure Week, the Highway Trust Fund lurches closer to expiration on May 31. I have been consistent in my support for a long term solution to the infrastructure funding crisis in this country, and I'm hopeful that Congress can come together on this issue. It's time to stop kicking the can down the road and get the job done.
National Defense Authorization Act
This week, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. The bill, which I supported, authorizes $515 billion for national defense spending and $89.2 billion for an emergency war fund. The bill also authorizes a 2.3% pay raise for our military service members and strengthens the military retirement system.
National Police Week
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (Washington, D.C.)
National Police Week was celebrated in Washington, D.C. this week. The week included a number of festivities organized by the Fraternal Order of Police, ending with a National Peace Officers’ memorial service on the lawn of the Capitol, honoring those who have passed away in the line of duty, followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. I commend all of our officers who serve the people of Minnesota and the United States and salute those who have given their lives to protect the citizens of our great state and country.
Discovering the 7th
Terrace Mill, Heritage Cottage, Keystone Arch Bridge
Situated along the Glacial Ridge Trail in the Chippewa River Valley, the Terrace Mill Foundation offers a historic experience featuring a vintage 1903 flour mill, the Keystone Arch Bridge, Weir Dam, Mill Pond, and the Heritage Cottage. Several festivals are held throughout the year to educate the public about water-powered flour milling, with weekly tours available to visitors.
This Week in American History
President Buchanan, 1860
Minnesota was admitted to the Union on May 11, 1858. With the passage of the enabling act for statehood two years prior, Minnesota had a complete and ratified state constitution by the time of Congressional approval. Despite becoming entangled in the controversial Kansas statehood debate, President Buchanan ultimately authorized Minnesota’s application as the 32nd state. Word of incorporation finally reached Minnesota on May 13.
Visitors from the District
Jacki and Annie Bradow (FERGUS FALLS), Ann and John Etten (FOXHOME)
Bruce Larson (LOWRY), Brian Larson (GLENWOOD), Ethan Larson (LOWRY), and Gene Larson (MONTEVIDEO)
AgQuest Financial Services
Molly Hansen (BARNESVILLE)
2015 Congressional Art Competition